NRLW player's swipe at 'Manly seven' over pride jersey controversy

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·Sports Editor
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Karina Brown, pictured here kissing girlfriend Vanessa Foliaki.
Karina Brown has reacted to the seven Manly players boycotting the club's pride jersey. Image: Getty/NRL

NRLW player Karina Brown has taken a swipe at the seven Manly players refusing to wear the club's pride jersey, saying she's been left 'enraged and frustrated'.

Brown, who was famously photographed kissing girlfriend and opposition player Vanessa Foliaki after a women's State of Origin game in 2018, has detailed her frustrations over the furore.

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“It did trigger me, if I’m honest. I felt enraged and frustrated and then I decided to dig a bit deeper and find out the whole story," she told Sam Squires on the ‘On Her Game’ podcast.

"When I dug deeper I realised it’s not even a pride jersey which makes it even worse.

“This jersey is for everyone in league … whether you love someone of the same sex or whether you love Jesus Christ it says there’s a place for you in rugby league.

“To get upset about a jersey with a few extra colours, on the piping … I was astounded that was a stance that some players have taken.

“It’s just constantly frustrating. Because yes we are becoming more of a woke society.

“And the next generation they’ve got more of an open mind and open hearts.

“People are realising that discrimination is so hurtful in society and we’re trying to do something about it.

“It’s frustrating it still exists.’’

Speaking in 2018 after her kiss with Foliaki went viral on social media, Brown said she hoped that one day the photo would be considered normal.

Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki, pictured here at the 2019 Australian LGBTI Awards.
Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki pose with the Sports Personality of the Year award at the 2019 Australian LGBTI Awards. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images for Australian LGBTI Awards)

“I think it was good for the world to see, to show how far we’ve come as a society," she wrote for Players Voice.

"Yet also to show that we’ve still got some way to go. Not all the feedback was positive.

“For some people, it’s still a shock. I guess the more we can get it out there, that it’s OK to be who you are, it won’t be a shock anymore. It’ll just be normal. It is normal.

“I look forward to the day where my moment with Vanessa is just a regular post-match photo. And I don’t think we’re far off it.”

After copping some backlash for posting the photo, the NRL's official Twitter account wrote: “Welcome to 2018 … can’t wait for you to join us!”

Manly seven told to stay home for Roosters clash

Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau'atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley will all sit out Manly's match against the Roosters on Thursday night, citing religious, cultural and family concerns over the rainbow strip.

The jersey features rainbow colours taking up the normal white space on Manly's strip, in recognition of minority groups such as the LGBTQI community pushing for more acceptance and basic human rights.

On Wednesday it emerged that the seven players won't be in attendance at the match at all after police cited security concerns for the objecting stars.

In a 10-minute apology on Tuesday, Manly coach Des Hasler conceded his club had made a monumental error in not consulting players before unveiling the 'everyone in league' jersey.

Manly Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler, pictured here speaking to the media.
Manly Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler speaks to the media. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The club took another hit on Wednesday night with prop Sean Keppie ruled out of the crucial match with a shoulder injury and Bob Fulton's grandson Zac set to debut off the bench.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson backed Manly's decision to stick with the pride jersey, adding that he was frustrated by continued discrimination in society.

"It is great what the owners of Manly have decided to do and it is unfortunate that it has panned out this way because everyone is equal, no matter what race, gender, sexual preference, everyone is equal," he stated.

"Let people make their choice and let’s not discriminate against those, and we are still doing that, and that is why it is unfortunate."

with AAP

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